Top 11 Spots to Score Free Firewood Near Me

Discover the top 11 strategies to locate free firewood near you. From social media hunts to construction site scavenging, learn how to fuel your fires without spending a dime and build community connections along the way.

free firewood near me

Need to find “free firewood near me” (and other free stuff) efficiently? Although purchasing logs to fuel your fire or fireplace can become expensive, acquiring firewood doesn't necessarily have to break the bank. We've compiled various methods to get FREE firewood, all it takes is good etiquette, attentiveness, and the right tools.

1. Online and Apps

Are you utilizing online marketplaces like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to find free firewood? A quick search on these and other free stuff apps can reveal a variety of options, including different types of wood and pickup instructions.

Find firewood with some of these online marketplaces and apps:

2. Networking with Friends, Family, and Neighbors

By engaging with your neighbors, friends, and family, you might find opportunities for free firewood and other usable lumber, such as tree trimming in exchange for the wood. This strengthens community ties and ensures a supply of lumber for your fires. Simply maintain a good reputation, and keep an eye on local online platforms and you shouldn't have trouble stocking up on free firewood in the winter months.

3. Post-Storm Pickup

In the calm after a storm, it's a prime time to help neighbors and score free firewood. Homeowners often need help clearing debris and other cleanup efforts and may offer some of their extra wood in return. If you help remove larger fallen branches or shovel snow, for example, the average homeowner just might have some extra wood and scraps they can spare.

4. Visit Construction Sites

For a steady supply of firewood, visit local construction sites. Managers often have extra wood they're willing to give away. Always prioritize safety and ensure the wood is suitable for burning. This approach can lead to a beneficial partnership with the construction company.

5. Getting Free Wood from Local Sawmills

Sawmills can also be a goldmine for free firewood, especially during stock-clearing times. They often have excess offcuts and logs, particularly hardwoods like oak or maple, ideal for heating. Stay in touch with mill operators to be notified about availability, helping you save money and reduce waste.

6. Use Wooden Pallets for Firewood

Pallet wood is a surprisingly good source of free firewood if it's marked with an ‘HT’ for heat-treated, making it safe to burn. Steer clear of pallets stamped with ‘MB’ or unmarked ones, as they could contain harmful chemicals. Always remove nails and metal before burning, and due to potential risks, it's best to use pallet wood for outdoor fires only.

7. Check Out Local Burn Piles

Local burn piles are designated areas where community members can dispose of yard waste, such as branches and leaves, and sometimes non-commercial lumber. These piles are often burned as a means to reduce the volume of waste, but before that happens, they can be a source of free firewood.

To locate burn piles in your area, start by checking with your local fire department or waste management services, as they may manage or have information about such sites. You can also inquire at community centers or look for announcements in local newspapers and online community boards. Some regions may have specific dates and locations where burn piles are accessible to the public for firewood collection.

8. Get Free Firewood From The Forest Service

To mitigate the risk of severe forest fires, national forests undergo careful management, which includes measures like reducing fire hazards near buildings and clearing dead or diseased trees. As a result, the forest service often designates areas within national forests and national parks where wood is available for removal at no cost for personal use.

9. Make Friends With Arborists and Tree Trimmers

If you make friends with a tree trimmer, you will find an abundance of free wood. Here is how it works: Tree trimmers just don’t prune trees, they are busier cutting them down, trunk and all.  They then have to take these trees somewhere and do something with them to produce usable lumber.  

Ultimately, tree trimmers work very hard and while they could easily split and sell the firewood, but they're like to be done at five just like everyone else. If you pass them at the end of the day, they will be happy to drop off a few logs on your property, especially if you are on the way home.

10. Check with Your Local Municipality

Reach out to your city or town's public works department to inquire about the availability of wood debris from storm cleanup or tree trimming, which residents may collect for firewood.

Additionally, check if your municipality converts brush into mulch and permits residents to collect it. Look through the mulch for usable wood pieces.

11. Go Dumpster Diving to Get Firewood BUT Be Careful!

One man's trash is another man's treasure! Consider scavenging for wood in dumpsters for burning purposes. Just be aware that dumpster diving may be prohibited or restricted in certain areas, and trespassing laws could apply.


Helpful Tips on Scoring Free Firewood

If you're relatively new to finding and burning firewood, there are some things you'll want to keep in mind to ensure safety for yourself and others. 

How Do I Know If the Wood From Pallets is Safe to Burn?

Remember that burning treated or contaminated wood can release harmful chemicals into the air, posing health risks to you and your surroundings. Prioritize safety and environmental responsibility when selecting wood for burning.

  1. Identify the Type of Pallet: Some pallets are treated with chemicals to prevent rot or pests. Avoid pallets labeled with terms like "MB" (Methyl Bromide) or "HT" (Heat Treated), as they may contain toxic substances.
  2. Inspect for Stamps or Labels: Look for stamps or labels on the pallet that indicate how it was treated. "HT" signifies heat-treated wood, which is safe for burning. Avoid pallets marked with "MB" or "Chemical Treated," as they may contain harmful chemicals.
  3. Examine the Wood: Inspect the wood for signs of contamination, such as visible stains, discoloration, or strong odors. Avoid pallets that appear to have been exposed to chemicals or contaminants.
  4. Consider the Use: Even if a pallet appears untreated, consider its previous use and potential exposure to chemicals or contaminants. Pallets used for shipping hazardous materials or chemicals are not suitable for burning.
  5. Test the Wood: If you're unsure about the safety of the wood, you can conduct a burn test in a well-ventilated outdoor area. Burn a small piece of the wood and observe the flame and smoke. If the wood produces excessive smoke, unusual odors, or colored flames, it may contain harmful substances.

Are All Trees Good for Firewood?

Not all trees and tree branches are ideal for firewood. Hardwood varieties like oak, maple, and ash burn slowly and produce long-lasting heat, making them excellent choices. Conversely, softwood species such as pine and spruce burn faster and can lead to chimney fires due to increased creosote buildup.

Some trees emit harmful fumes when burned, making them unsuitable for firewood. Be careful!

Should I Rotate the Firewood?

If you're short on seasoned firewood this season, go ahead and gather some fresh-cut logs. Store them properly, and by the time the next cold spell rolls around, you'll have perfectly seasoned firewood ready to go. In the meantime, stock up again for future use, ensuring a continuous cycle of dry, burn-ready wood.

When is The Best Time to Stock Up on Firewood?

The spring and summer months are the best times to stock up on firewood, especially when people are trimming trees.

What's the Best Way to Store Firewood?

  • Elevate it to prevent moisture absorption.
  • Cover with a waterproof tarp.
  • Arrange loosely for airflow.
  • Choose a dry, well-ventilated location.
  • Rotate the stack periodically.
  • Keep a safe distance from structures.

To score even more free stuff, be sure to visit our Free Stuff page, which is updated daily with all the latest freebies. 


- Vanessa